Marquette University biomedical engineering professor receives $3.34 million R01 grant to study improving mobility for people with multiple sclerosis


October 11, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Brian Schmit, Hammes Family Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been awarded a $3.34 million R01 research grant from the National Institutes of Health to improve walking, balance and community mobility in people with multiple sclerosis.

The project, “High-intensity gait training and dynamic stability in people with multiple sclerosis,” is funded by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH . The study will use a novel combination of high-intensity exercise on a treadmill that moves in unexpected ways to improve balance and increase walking speed.

“There are still unmet rehabilitation needs for people with MS, and this project has the potential to significantly improve public health,” Schmit said. “Our team will assess the individual and combined effects of high-intensity exercise and balance disturbances during treadmill training in people with MS. We hope this will lead to two developments. The first is to reduce falls by improving balance while walking, which will improve with repeated practice of walking on an unexpectedly moving surface. The second is to improve strength, coordination, and heart and lung capacity to be able to walk faster and farther.

Previous research has shown that patients with mild to moderate multiple sclerosis experience impaired gait and balance control. The design of this project will seek to improve mobility in laboratory and real-world conditions, where walking demands are high, by exhibiting both the individual and combined effects of repeated disturbances of balance during walking and high intensity exercises.

This study is based on the investigators’ previous experience with high-intensity training in patients with other neurological disorders and on promising results from a pilot study demonstrating the feasibility of dynamic balance treadmill training in people with MS.

“I am grateful to see Dr. Schmit continue to provide leadership and expertise to people living with MS,” said Dr. Kristina Ropella, Dean of Opus College of Engineering. “The work of this interdisciplinary team will improve the well-being and quality of life of many.

The research team includes co-investigator Dr. Allison Hyngstrom, chair and professor of physical therapy at the College of Health Sciences, and Dr. Naveen Bansal, professor of mathematical and statistical sciences at Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, in a role of consultant. .

Dr. T. George Hornby, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Indiana University, is also the project’s principal investigator. He is joined by colleagues from Indiana as co-investigators, Dr. David H. Mattson, professor of neurology, and Cris Henderson, research associate in applied health sciences. Dr. Ahmed Obeidat, associate professor of neurology at MCW, is a co-investigator, and Dr. Kelly P. Westlake, associate professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences at the University of Maryland is a consultant to the team.

The National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (R01) is the original and historically longest-running grant mechanism used by the NIH. The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the NIH mission. R01s can be initiated by the interviewer or can be solicited.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was founded in 1962 to study human development throughout the life process, with an emphasis on understanding disabilities and significant events that occur during life. pregnancy.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the Associate Director of Academic Communications in the Office of Marketing and Communications. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or [email protected]


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